OSTERVILLE – Scott Lowe carried an angel when he walked on Saturday for the cause of ovarian cancer symptom awareness.
The angel was in memory of a cat that had passed away, and it was something Lowe’s wife Michelle had held until she passed away of a rare form of ovarian cancer 16 months ago. Lowe said he hopes to raise awareness “so somebody else doesn’t have to go through what she did, and what I saw.”
And so he walked to Dowses Beach along with more than 100 others in the Ribbons To Remember Foundation “Live Like Renee 5 K Walk.”
“We walk in a beatiful neighborhood by the beach. A walk is everybody’s traditional fundraising method,” said Bob Riche, of Cotuit. Riche and his wife, Diane, created the Ribbons to Remember Foundation, after Diane’s mother came down with ovarian cancer and died five weeks later, said Riche. “We said, how could this happen?”
And so they discovered that the early symptoms of ovarian cancer mimic subtle and vague symptoms that many women feel from time to time, and ignore, in their lives. But if symptoms are persistent for weeks, said Riche, they should not be ignored.
While other walks raise money for research, Riche said Ribbons to Remember is dedicated to symptom awareness. “We raise money for front line information, “ he said, which includes printing and distributing “symptom cards.”
“It’s comforting to see other people with the same cause,” said Lowe.
The “Live Like Renee” name of this year’s walk was in honor of Sean Costa’s wife, Renee, who lived for nine years with ovarian cancer before passing away this March. Costa said, “She had an extraordinary outlook on life.” Thus, Live Like Renee became of a sort of mantra for those who have the disease to continue to have “unfailing optimism.”
Sue Wilson of Watertown, who also has a home in Centerville, abides by that philosophy. “After two years and seven months, I have no evidence of the disease,” she said. “I’m beating the disease at the moment. But the disease never goes away It’s an ugly, ugly disease.”
The statistics are heartbreaking for those who catch the disease late, said Riche. But for those who catch the disease in its early stages, the five-year survival rate is more than 90 percent, he said. And that is why he and the others are working to spread the word on symptoms to watch for, he said.
According to information from Ribbons to Remember: consult your doctor if you feel persistent symptoms:
Pelvic or abdominal pain
Feeling full quickly
Change in bathroom habits
— Brian Tarcy